Christopher Hearsey

Christopher Hearsey
  • Democrat
  • Age: 38
  • Residence: Gaithersburg

About Christopher Hearsey

Education

I graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematical economics and political science and a minor in physics. I went on to earn a master’s degree in 2008 from American University’s School of Public Affairs. I then completed my law degree with honors from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2013. I also earned a second master’s degree from the University of North Dakota’s Space Studies program in 2015.

Background

I have worked in the aerospace industry for over ten years in management, policy, and legal compliance roles in government and the private and non-profit sectors. From 2013-2017, I served as Corporate Counsel then Director of the Washington, DC office for a company called Bigelow Aerospace. In November 2017, I left my job as an aerospace executive to fight for the future of families in western Maryland.

Questionnaire

1
Trump record
How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Hearsey: I am so concerned about the Trump Administration that I left my job to serve the public and push back against Trump’s agenda. Besides Trump being personally unfit for public office, not presidential, and holding no values or morals this country has upheld – like honesty, integrity, compassion, and truthfulness, he continues to show no leadership skills greater than the school yard bully on every issue whether personal or governmental. Trump’s political dog whistles continue to break constructive American political dialogue and compromise our national security and foreign policy by confusing our allies and sowing dysfunction within our government to the advantage of Russia and China. Why Republicans in Congress have not impeached much less investigated the swampiest Administration likely in the history of this country is a sad stain on this great nation’s history, exposing a weakness that continues to harm working and middle-class families. I believe that I am not alone to have grave concerns about the leadership of Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell. The Republican political leadership in Congress values power over values, honesty, integrity, compassion, or truthfulness and Marylanders are suffering for it. This must change. This will change with new leadership in Congress. That is why I am working hard every day to earn the trust and support of the great people of western Maryland to ensure no one is left behind in our changing economy and launch Maryland forward.
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2
2017 Tax cuts
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Hearsey: I oppose the federal tax cut passed in 2017. While some high earning Americans and corporations will get most of the benefits of the 2017 federal tax cut, many hardworking Americans will be hurt by the tax cuts and the repeal of the individual mandate. The 2017 federal tax cut was unbalanced and will likely lead this country into a recession along with Trump’s trade war. Trump’s haphazard way of governing and the Republican Congress’s lack of integrity when drafting the tax bill has put western Maryland in a tough spot. That is why I am fighting to modernize our infrastructure, expand broadband access, ensure affordable health-care, and reform our job training and education system to give everyone the chance to succeed. For the last ten years, I have been a business and non-profit leader in the aerospace industry promoting technology development and job growth. I understand that if you don’t have access to high speed internet, job-critical technology, or good health-care, you can’t fully participate in our economy today. Without leadership in Congress that understands the consequences of our changing economy, western Maryland will suffer. However, I believe that western Maryland can be a vital hub for job growth, professional certification training, and innovative infrastructure projects that reduce highway congestion and move goods and people more quickly, efficiently, and safer with the technology that exists today. My goal is to make sure everyone has the tools and opportunities to succeed in our rapidly changing economy.
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3
National debt
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Hearsey: The level of national debt today is deeply concerning. For many years, getting the national debt under control seemed like a great bipartisan project that saw government revenue surpluses under President Clinton. But for decades Republicans have lied to the American people and their economic and social policies have increased our national debt per person from $20,000 to over $60,000 between 1998 and 2018. The Republican party has continuously sought to reduce our national debt through the elimination of vitally important social services and irresponsible tax cuts. They are close to succeeding as well as on course to crash the entire American economy and implode the institutions Americans depend on for security and the protection of individual rights over value-breaking power politics. Without political leadership that works to reduce our national debt, we put at risk not just the most vulnerable among us but working and middle-class families. We will have tough choices to make in the coming decade and need to seek economic policies that increase revenue through much needed infrastructure projects, budget controls on runaway defense spending not in line with today’s national security and foreign policy realities, and modernize government facilities and equipment to reduce long-term operational and security costs. Additionally, we will need to work to make social security solvent by increasing the payroll tax caps for high earners, modernizing facilities and equipment, and opposing privatization.
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4
Income inequality
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Hearsey: The level of economic inequality in the United States today is a problem. Our local, national, and global economies are changing faster than government and political leaders realize. The rate of technological innovation, the reduction of family incomes, and the consolidation of wealth among the few have dramatically increased income inequality. This shift within the economy drains resources from schools, increases our national debt, puts at risk the social services many hardworking families depend on, and reduces opportunities to fully participate in the American economy. In Maryland, only about 40% of elementary and secondary schools, mostly in white suburbs, have access to the technology and training resources to ensure all students are prepared to use the technology and applications used by employers today. That is why I support federal grants to ensure Maryland schools have the technology and teachers who provide the necessary training to code, manage and repair technology, or acquire certifications in trades like welding, plumping, or being an electrician. Additionally, to reduce income inequality, I support a gradual raise of the minimum wage to $15 over five years and increases in the tax rate for high income earners and for capital gains taxes. Moreover, I also believe addressing the crippling student loan debt through increases in Pell grants, increases on the amounts and reduction of the interest rates for Perkins loans, and loan forgiveness for and expansion of categories of public interest employment, especially for public school teachers.
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5
Gun laws
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Hearsey: Yes, I believe that some federal gun laws should be changed. When the Columbine shooting happened, I was a senior in high school. Almost twenty years later, I am appalled at the lengths administrators, teachers, and students must perform shooter drills in our schools. Children have gone from duck and cover to lock yourself in. How is this acceptable? We need comprehensive gun control measures that address the many problems that uniquely exist today in America due to irresponsible gun use. Congress can start with outlawing bump stocks, closing gun show loopholes, micro-tagging bullets, repealing the Dickey Amendment so that federal funds could be used for gun violence research, increased funds for mental health services, and modernize the federal background check system.
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6
ACA
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Hearsey: In my adult life it became difficult to obtain adequate health insurance because of my preexisting condition from a high school hockey injury. I was a struggling college student working sixty hours a week across several part time jobs and my preexisting injury effectively priced me out of the health insurance marketplace. Had I gotten sick or injured again, it is quite possible that medical bills would have consumed my future. The Affordable Care Act ended this inequity and finally gave me and millions of Americans a chance to break free from the cycle of debt that our health insurance market tends to incentivize. That is why I supported President Obama’s effort to pass the ACA. I believe that Congress should seek to restore the ACA’s individual mandate and stop de-funding the cost sharing subsidies. Overall, we need to reduce the cost of administrating healthcare products and services and ensure competition in the health insurance marketplace. I agree access to healthcare is a human right. That is why I support the Center for American Progress’s “Medicare for All” plan because it offers a pragmatic approach to getting more Americans insured and healthcare costs under control. I am skeptical that financially and politically we could afford to pass a Universal Healthcare law because of the cost uncertainties to the government as well as causing a major disruption to the health insurance markets.
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7
Urban policy
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Hearsey: Baltimore, like many cities, faces challenges that affect its future. I believe that effective use of government resources reduces the burdens and increases the opportunities for those in the inner city. I grew up in Los Angeles and went to college in Philadelphia. I took public transportation one to two hours a day to get to work and school. I worked multiple part time jobs usually at minimum wage to pay my way through school like many people who live in the inner city trying to achieve a better life. I lived in blighted neighborhoods for many years and walked about those communities struggling the same as everyone else. I understand the need for better public transportation options, for a higher minimum wage, and for educational resources and opportunities to advance and provide for your family. We can do this with innovative infrastructure projects connecting all of Maryland through public transportation and improving our roads, bridges, and tunnels to handle population growth. Additionally, I believe Congress needs to seek criminal justice reforms to stop the terrible cycle of criminal recidivism for non-violent offenders who are addicts. To that end, I would seek federal legislation that would bar employers from asking about prior criminal history on employment applications and seek reforms to federal sentencing laws regarding mandatory minimum sentences that are inherently discriminatory, like with many opiate-based narcotics. I also support increased funding for treatment programs that work to help addicts reenter society and succeed.
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8
Opioids
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Hearsey: Opioid addiction is one of the most destructive forces currently plaguing the United States, with few Marylanders (or Americans) unaffected by the crisis - including my family. As a young man, I watched my father overdose on opioids right in front of me. I lost my own father to this crisis, but I do not want another child to lose their parent, which is happening all too often, day after day, as this crisis continues. First, Congress must attack this problem through policy coordination, information sharing, and increased funds through grants to the states so that they can continue to provide extraordinary care to those affected by addiction. Our goal should be to get addicts on a path to becoming productive and successful members of society. I favor federal criminal justice reform that gives non-violent addicts a fair and meaningful chance to get a hold of their disease. I am also supportive of decriminalizing Marijuana, a substance with legitimate medical uses and a relatively low risk of addiction, and yet healthcare providers are unable to prescribe it. Meanwhile, extremely potent opioids, which are legitimately dangerous and lead to deaths every day, are prescribed daily, despite the well-known risks of addiction and overdose. As medical research indicates legalizing marijuana will not heal the hurts that have been dealt to our citizens by opioids but finding patients alternatives to control chronic pain and other symptoms of disease is vital to loosening the stranglehold that opioids currently have on our country.
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9
Immigration
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Hearsey: Our country is a nation of immigrants. Like many Marylanders and Americans, I come from a family of immigrants. My great grandparents immigrated to the US from Hungary and England early last century. My mother in law came to this country from communist Poland on a scholarship and devoted her life to teaching US and World History to English as a Second Language students in the Connecticut public school system. Immigrants are our friends, classmates, neighbors, and coworkers. They pay taxes, billions of dollars in taxes, supporting federal programs and services they are ineligible to receive. I want to see comprehensive immigration reform that affords these amazing and hardworking people a path to citizenship, one that increases the pool of H1-B visas and reverses the brain drain we have seen in recent years. I do not believe that we should give violent criminals a path to citizenship, but those who show that they want to be productive members of American society should be allowed to build their lives here and contribute to our economy. And there is no group of immigrants for whom this is truer than those who did not choose to come here - DACA recipients deserve to have Congress come up with a solution, not to be used as pawns in a political trade for an ineffective and expensive border wall constructed at taxpayer expense. I promise to work with my colleagues in Congress to protect Dreamers and to construct effective and responsible comprehensive immigration reform.
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10
Free trade
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Hearsey: I believe that the United State should continue its free trade policies to the extent that the actions of other nations don’t undercut the mutual gains from free trade. Protecting domestic industries will become increasingly challenging with the development of technologies that cut seamlessly across borders. As technology quickly evolves with more interconnected capabilities that affect opportunities for Americans to succeed, we need to ensure that no one is left behind from the changes the economy is undergoing. We need to do a better job of preparing Americans to participate in the technology-based economy of today. That is why I am fighting to modernize our infrastructure, expand broadband access, and reform our job training and education system to give everyone the chance to succeed. Limiting free trades serves nobodies interests. Our old ways of thinking about the types of sectors in our industrial base is quickly changing. The growth of technology and the proliferation of the applications that govern our daily life from the inter-connectedness of our phones, computers, cars, and homes enables us to navigate the American economy with relative ease. That is a consequence of free trade. Past management of our industrial bases have been inherently protectionist and do not necessarily leave the American economy better off. The goal now is to ensure that Americans today and, in the future, have the resources and opportunities to participate in our technologically complex economy.
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11
Iran
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Hearsey: I do support the Iran nuclear deal. I believe that President Obama and his foreign policy team executed a good plan to get Iran’s nuclear efforts curtailed and monitored with the pressure from the other partners. Diplomacy should not be taken lightly when it comes to nuclear proliferation. When it is successful, I believe that the world is better off with the leadership of the United States and its partners. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was an important international agreement to limit Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. I believe that the partners have so far successfully implemented the JCPOA and Iran has demonstrated compliance. I see no reason to pull out from the agreement and to do so would undermine the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
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12
North Korea
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Hearsey: It is curious to see how Trump’s overtures to the DPRK have played out these last few months. Trump has fumbled his way into a negotiation he can’t control and by conceding to officially speak with the DPRK government at the highest levels has put American foreign policy under the direction of an impulsive and diplomatically deficient tweeter. On this issue, I am hopeful progress could be made by Administration senior staff and officials, but from the public reporting I have grave concerns about the negotiation’s promise to deliver a positive result for America and the world. I will withhold further judgment of the diplomatic efforts by the Trump Administration to curtail the DPRK government’s nuclear program because it is unclear what goals the Trump Administration and the DPRK have in mind other than to give the DPRK legitimacy at the expense of American legitimacy. If there is a positive result, it will be through multilateral diplomatic efforts, not from the haphazard approach of the Trump Administration. Further use of sanctions and embargoes should include better enforcement by the Chinese. Moreover, the United State should not allow this corrupt regime to continue to violate human rights of North Koreans. These issues must be on the table when discussing outcomes for a new political reality for the Korean peninsula.
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